Using Cats As Snake Food

By Elisa Black-Taylor

Readers, I’ll warn you before I begin this article “Using Cats As Snake Food” that this is perhaps the sickest, most vile thing I’ve ever heard of. I’m not even sure it’s legal. Unfortunately, the legality of feeding a cat to a pet snake makes little difference to the person who owns the snake. One online website suggested “not to tell the girlfriend” about using cats as snake food. Just acquire the cat by whatever means necessary, feed your snake and keep your mouth shut.

I’d NEVER heard of this before. I thought the scumbags who take kittens and sell them to research labs to be the lowest form of humanity. It seems I was wrong. Free kittens and even shelter kittens and cats are being used to feed hungry snakes.


Python – Photo by USFWS/Southeast

I didn’t do much research in order to write this. I’m terrified of snakes. I don’t want to see one in person, on TV or online. So forgive me if I leave the research up to those of you who want to know more about this topic. I’m only writing this as a warning to those of you who have outdoor cats (especially feral cats who haven’t been “treated” with chemicals) or who plan to give away a litter.

The cats and kittens are fed mostly to large pythons who have outgrown mice and rats as food. I don’t know how long this has been going on. Someone at some point got it into their head that felines make an ideal food for snakes. The same was said for puppies, rabbits and other small mammals. The snake owner doesn’t discriminate. They justify using cats and kittens for two reasons:

  • Cats and kittens living feral cause damage and death to other wildlife;
  • The shelter is going to euthanize the cats anyway, so why not put them to “good use”.

Apparently a dead prey food is better than feeding the snake a live cat. Something about all of the squirming done by the cat as it slowly dies can internally injure the snake. One reference I forced myself to read through stated C0² (carbon dioxide) was used to first kill the cat. Breaking a cats neck or smothering would probably do the job just as thoroughly. After all, the snake owner doesn’t want to harm his pet with any dangerous chemicals that could be in the cats system at the time of death.

This just gets scarier and scarier. One online website suggested for the snake owner to send friends or family on scouting missions to acquire free kittens. Do snake lovers look different than the rest of the population?

Cat lovers, be careful who you give kittens to. I never realized this was going on, but it really doesn’t surprise me. Cats get the bad end of the deal in a lot more situations than we know about. These snake people are out there and they want cats. They’re not going to advertise this. It’s almost like a secret society between snake breeders. Tips to grow a healthy snake without offending the rest of the world or being locked up for something that sounds like it should be illegal.

I found references to these python groups in Florida as well as in Australia. Is this going on in every country?

Readers, do any of you know anything about this practice? Does this fall under animal cruelty? Are there any snake breeders out there who would like to explain who came up with this horrible idea and how your conscience will allow you to murder beautiful animals for the purpose of supplying a meal?

That’s it for me. I’m getting sick just thinking about this…


Note from Michael (Admin): This has got to be known about by the police, surely. Or by organizations such as PETA (yes, I know PETA have a bad reputation on killing unwanted cats) . Perhaps they consider it normal and natural as it is the sort of thing that would happen in nature, which brings me to the question of whether it is animal cruelty and falls under the animal protection and welfare criminal code.

When feeding live kittens to snakes, the question is whether a person encouraging natural predation is committing a crime. Regrettably I would guess that the authorities would not think so. But if the cat is killed before feeding to the snake using a method that is cruel then it would be a crime. CO² would cause asphyxiation and would be an act of cruelty in my opinion.Why isn’t law enforcement involved?

That said, a python kills an animal by asphyxiating it. What is the difference? Feeding cats to snakes poses lots of ethical and legal questions.It also poses questions about the involvement of so called shelters. How many supply kittens? And are they involved in other commercial enterprises. I have always said that they commonly are and it undermines the objective of a shelter. It creates a conflict of interest.

I hate the idea of kittens/cats as snake food. For me it is cruel and quite unnecessary when there is commercial snake food around. There are also too many people keeping exotic type pets in America. It is a kind of obsession and disrespectful of animals. Can’t we just live on the planet together?

In one case a snake farmer, David Beauchemin, was also operating and dog and cat shelter on the same premises! It is alleged that rather than sheltering the cats and dogs he was feeding them to his snakes. He has been arrested on animal cruelty charges but the investigation continues. The charges appear to relate to the condition of the snakes.

I have just noticed that I made an earlier post on this subject.

Original photo of snake on Flickr

Facebook Discussion


Using Cats As Snake Food — 8 Comments

  1. UNTIL THERE ARE HARSHER LAWS AND PUNNISHMENT FOR ANIMAL ABUSE THIS WILL CONTINUE – write letters to all your legislators in your state, you can change a lot by doing this! Ask for harsher punnishment and if purps can’t pay, reposessions of their items.
    If you know of ANYONE feeding small animals like cats and dogs to a snake – report them. It is NOT LEGAL and in some states it is a felony. A person doing this MUST BE SERIOUSLY PUNNISHED or they’ll never learn. YES a snake can get serious internal injuries from both cats and dogs – even kittens and puppies. Report whoever does this. FYI PETA kills animals because they can’t stand the recycling that goes on. by the time an animal gets into PETAs hands it has been so torchured and abused death is the only mercy. PETA staff have very strong stomachs and probably the strongest devotion to animals. They don’t eat them, don’t wear them and don’t recycle them. If you are adopting, please do a decent background check, CHARGE $$$ for both cats and dogs and make sure you have a contract for the person to stay in touch with you. Anyone who truly wants a pet, will be happy to do so. Others you can report. We all die one day and everything we do to every living being we will be made to feel for eternity in every excrusiating detail.

  2. I can’t even read this stuff. Sorry. I have seen snakes crush and ingest vermin and I hated every minute of it. Keeping snakes in a tiny class prison is cruel. Than having to harvest small mammals to feed them. It’s just sick.

  3. What worries me is how hard this would be to prove as there won’t be any evidence. Its hard enough to convict if someone confesses. Our laws are way too lax.

  4. This is so very dreadful! Just when we think we’ve heard about all the forms cruelty to cats can take, we hear of even more!
    It can’t go on, something will have to give as this planet is ever more poisoned by selfish cruel humans, Nature won’t put up with much more and will surely have to wipe the human species out.

    • Yes, eventually, the edifice that humans have created will come tumbling down and the planet will be at peace again and return to nature.

  5. I get the bad feeling this one will give me nightmares. This was a very hard story to write as I’m way past terrified of snakes. Florida has a really high number of these snakes. Up in the hundreds of thousands if the numbers are accurate.

    • It seems we don’t know how many pet snakes there are in Florida or the USA generally or anywhere else. Maybe we should know. How many kittens are fed to snakes? I just believe that there should be some sort of control over this sort of thing.

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